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The interior of an intimate wine bar that has a bit of a nautical vibe.
Cozying up to an intimate wine bar is one great way to dine solo — but not the only way.
Brian Samuels

Where to Dine Solo in Greater Boston

Cozy bars, full-sized entrees, and friendly staff await at these local restaurants and bars

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Cozying up to an intimate wine bar is one great way to dine solo — but not the only way.
| Brian Samuels

When traveling alone or taking oneself out for a nice meal just because, it can be tricky to find the perfect spot to dine solo, but there are a number of factors to watch for that can make a restaurant an ideal spot for eating alone.

Maybe it serves traditional full-sized entrees, rather than small plates; it can be hard to get the best value from a small-plate menu without a table full of people. Maybe the staff hits that perfect balance of being conversational if the diner is up for it or leaving them alone if they just want to read a book. Maybe it’s one of the city’s toughest reservations for a table of two or four, but a single diner can swoop in on a free bar seat any evening. Maybe there’s a seat looking into the bustling kitchen, giving an entertaining view for the reluctant solo diner who typically prefers conversation over dinner.

Here are 18 excellent restaurants in Boston and nearby worth checking out for a solo meal.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. Note that as of January 15, 2022, restaurants in the city of Boston are required to check for proof of vaccination for customers dining indoors; Brookline has a similar mandate, but Brookline’s also covers outdoor dining. Outside of these communities, venues with their own vaccination proof requirements are noted as such on this map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Yume Wo Katare

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This little Cambridge shop, which usually has a long but fast-moving line outside, specializes in heaping bowls of pork-filled, garlicky ramen — and invites diners to stand up and share their dreams with the rest of the restaurant after finishing a bowl. It takes a bit of stamina to power through the hearty portion size; a solo diner can fully concentrate on the (delicious) task at hand.

Ramen noodles and slices of pork are stacked impossibly high in a white bowl, topped with ample garlic.
Ramen at Yume Wo Katare.
Yume Wo Katare

This popular Italian spot is one of the trickiest reservations in town; dates open up two weeks in advance, so plan ahead. While reservations are accepted for parties of one, it’s also worth rolling the dice for a walk-in seat at the bar. If dining alone, the best course of action is to skip the entrees in order to focus on a pasta and a dessert (any pasta and any dessert; they’re all incredible). Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

Closeup shot of thick pasta noodles covered in red sauce and grated parmesan cheese on a green ceramic plate.
Pasta at Giulia.
Giulia

Field & Vine

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Tucked away off a somewhat hidden parking lot in Somerville’s Union Square, Field & Vine looks like a forest oasis. Make a reservation specifically for the bar at this intimate restaurant; it’ll give you a front-row view into the bustling open kitchen. The menu’s always changing, but you’re sure to find something very seasonal and local. (It’s mostly small plates, so plan on ordering a couple.) Vegetables take a starring role, but it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, so roasted koginut squash, for example, may be prepared with spicy marinated feta, fermented garlic honey, and a bit of house-smoked bacon. After dinner, grab a nightcap next door at one of the area’s best cocktail bars, Backbar. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

Sunlight streams through a large restaurant window that is mostly obscured by potted plants. There’s a rustic wooden wall, bench, chairs, and tables inside.
Field & Vine in Somerville’s Union Square.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Oleana — serving gorgeous food inspired by Turkey and the wider Middle East — is a notoriously difficult reservation, but there tend to be sporadic openings for parties of one even when fully booked for larger parties. Make a reservation (specifically for the beautiful patio, if the weather will be nice), or just try walking in; you’ll often get lucky with a bar seat, especially at off-peak hours. The play here is the baked Alaska, one of the area’s iconic dishes, so start with a meze or two and maybe a glass of something sparkling, and then head right into dessert. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

A dramatic baked Alaska dessert full of toasted meringue sits on a brown plate, the background of the photo obscured in shadows.
Baked Alaska at Oleana.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Pammy's

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Pammy’s, an Italian-ish/American-ish trattoria, boasts one of the friendliest staffs in town and truly lovely decor. Solo diner reservations are available, but be aware that reserved seats require purchase of a $69 prix fixe menu. Looking for something lighter? The cozy bar and lounge area (complete with fireplace) is available for walk-ins and offers an a la carte menu. The gochujang-spiked lumache Bolognese is a must; enjoy it with one of Pammy’s draft aperitivi. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

A very short walk from TD Garden but set back a bit from the bustle of Boston’s West End, Alcove is a more upscale option than pretty much anything else in the neighborhood, but it still feels warm and hospitable; a solo diner could be comfortable both at the bar or in standard seating. Open for lunch and dinner, Alcove serves coastal New England cuisine — including a good number of full-sized entrees — and features a solid cocktail list. If you’re lucky, you might spot chef Chuck Draghi’s popular carbonara on the specials list.

A wide shot of bar seating and tiered liquor bottles at a somewhat casual but polished restaurant
The bar at Alcove.
Emily Kan

Seabiscuit

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Most of the spots on this map are full-service; by default, fast-casual places, cafes, etc. already feel like good solo dining spots. But the casual Australian pie shop and cafe Seabiscuit deserves a special shoutout because there’s nothing like popping in for a hot beef stew pie and a bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer and then going for a quiet wander among all the interesting art within the East Boston marina where the restaurant is located. (Swing by the Downeast taproom, too, to buy some cans of hard cider.) Got extra time and the weather is nice? Don’t miss Piers Park down the street, which boasts some of the best skyline views of Boston available.

A small round savory pie sits on a red tray with a brown glass bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer visibile in the background.
Beef stew pie and Australian ginger beer at Seabiscuit in East Boston.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Neptune Oyster

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Neptune Oyster is another example of a spot that’s easiest to get into as a solo diner (especially if your schedule is flexible). The North End restaurant, home of one of the city’s best lobster rolls, packs in diners elbow-to-elbow but still sees hours-long waits a lot of the time. Put your name in, and then pop around the corner for an interesting cocktail at Parla if a seat’s available at the tiny bar, or just stroll around the North End and maybe make a gelato stop or two.

The Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster is served on a grilled hot dog bun atop a white plate, and is accompanied by French fries and a ramekin of ketchup.
Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Haley Henry

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In general, any dimly lit wine bar with good food feels like a solid solo dining option. Tiny Downtown Crossing nook Haley Henry is an especially great pick thanks to its creative selection of funky wines and hospitable vibes. Go all in on fancy tinned seafood (optionally add caviar), or try a mix-and-match cheese and charcuterie plate. A lighter-on-the-wallet option is the panini of the day, maybe paired with a slice of Basque cheesecake. Reservations open a month in advance, or try to walk in (ideally at an off-peak time).

The interior of an intimate wine bar that has a bit of a nautical vibe.
The intimate bar at Haley Henry.
Brian Samuels

For a traveler whose idea of the perfect solo meal is dropping a ton of cash on one incredible sushi feast, O Ya is the spot, and it’s conveniently located steps from South Station in an old fire station. The omakase currently goes for $250 (add $150 for beverage pairings) and includes a leisurely journey through 20 courses of modern sashimi, nigiri, and more. Reservations are a must and open up two months in advance; try calling between noon and 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday if nothing’s showing up online.

Several pieces of lobster sushi topped with caviar sit on a white plate.
O Ya’s “legs and eggs.”
Bill Addison/Eater

Sportello

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All Barbara Lynch Collective restaurants are reliably good; Sportello is perhaps the best pick for the solo eater in terms of ambiance (like a diner, but fancier, with most seats located at a counter looking into the open kitchen) and proximity to Lynch’s acclaimed cocktail bar, Drink, for an after-dinner cocktail. The cost can add up quickly here, so focus on just a pasta or entree if you’re trying to keep the bill low — no need to add a $40 charcuterie plate — or try the excellent spicy tomato soup with another antipasti option, side, or dessert.

A spread of Italian dishes — including salumi, olives, and more — on a bright white surface
A spread of Sportello dishes.
Pat Piasecki

Map Room Tea Lounge at Boston Public Library

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Why yes, you can drink cocktails and eat at the Boston Public Library’s beautiful main branch in Copley Square. The Map Room Tea Lounge is open for tea time reservations on Friday and Saturday afternoons or walk-in bar bites Wednesday through Saturday afternoon, featuring literature-inspired, tea-infused cocktails. The bar bite selection isn’t very extensive, but the ambiance is a must for book lovers and the perfect mid-day escape for a solo explorer.

Three arms come in from different sides of the photo, clinking three different cocktails at the Map Room Tea Lounge at Boston Public Library
Drinking and eating in the Boston Public Library.
Map Room Tea Lounge

For an out-of-towner coming in for a quick visit and hoping to eat seafood, Row 34 is a great example of a modern New England seafood restaurant. It’s energetic and casual — yet still feels nice enough for a special occasion — and showcases local seafood in a variety of raw and cooked forms. Plus, it has a killer beer list. It’s no surprise that reservations can be hard to come by at this popular spot, but a solo diner has a good shot at snagging a bar seat, especially at off-peak hours. Make sure to save room for the butterscotch pudding.

A whole cooked fish — small and silver, with dark stripes running across — sits on a round white plate with some greens on top.
A whole fish at Row 34.
Row 34

Grand Tour

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Spend the day strolling Newbury Street and wrap up with steak frites and a glass of wine at Grand Tour, a Parisian-inspired bistro. Reserve ahead of time, or try for a spontaneous visit; a few seats are saved for walk-ins. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, with weekday lunch featuring a three-course prix fixe for $45.

Narrow restaurant interior, featuring a white marble bar, Spanish-style tiled flooring, and a white-washed brick wall lined with large mirrors
Grand Tour.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Loud, fun, and packed with big flavors, Hojoko is the much more casual sibling of O Ya (see above), located in the heart of Fenway. (For the best chance at getting a walk-in seat, avoid times right before or after a Sox game, or make a reservation.) Down a frozen cocktail or sake bomb at the bar and snack on karaage fried chicken, the popular wagyu cheeseburger, or the “funky” chicken ramen. In the mood for sushi? The shiitake mushroom tempura roll is the standout option, topped with a truffle foam and fried garlic.

A colorful Japanese-inspired mural leads to the door of a restaurant with wooden signage reading “Hojoko.” There’s some greenery around the exterior.
Hojoko.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Fox & the Knife

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Steps from the Broadway T station, Fox & the Knife is serving some of the best Italian around, with a focus on the Emilia-Romagna region. Solo diners won’t find reservations available online, but swing by for a chance at a bar seat; there’s always some space saved for walk-ins. Snack on fried chile chickpeas or prosciutto di Parma while sipping through an aperitivi flight, and then dig into a bowl of pasta. No seats available? Head down the street to Fox & the Knife’s new sibling, Bar Volpe, which is a much larger space and focuses on southern Italian cuisine. (Bar Volpe does accept bar seat reservations for solo diners.)

A hand pulls away a triangle of taleggio-stuffed focaccia bread from a plate of it.
Taleggio-stuffed focaccia at Fox & the Knife.
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Sure, tapas are best enjoyed in a group, but this Spanish mainstay in the South End can be a good spot to dine alone, too, especially if you’re in the mood for paella. Be sure to explore the vermut and sherry selection. The restaurant doesn’t accept single-diner reservations online, so stop by and try for a bar seat.

Mussels, shrimp, and clams sit atop a skillet of rice and vegetables
Paella at Toro.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Haven

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Boston’s Scottish headquarters, the Haven, is a great spot to cozy up alone with a glass of scotch or an interesting Scottish craft beer. The food is hearty, the hospitality is warm, and there’s often live music. Try the restaurant’s popular burger, fish supper, or even haggis. Room for dessert? Close out the night with a deep-fried Mars bar. Solo diners can reserve online or just show up.

Interior view of bar seating in a tavern, featuring lots of wood and Scottish-themed decor.
The Haven’s bar.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Yume Wo Katare

Ramen noodles and slices of pork are stacked impossibly high in a white bowl, topped with ample garlic.
Ramen at Yume Wo Katare.
Yume Wo Katare

This little Cambridge shop, which usually has a long but fast-moving line outside, specializes in heaping bowls of pork-filled, garlicky ramen — and invites diners to stand up and share their dreams with the rest of the restaurant after finishing a bowl. It takes a bit of stamina to power through the hearty portion size; a solo diner can fully concentrate on the (delicious) task at hand.

Ramen noodles and slices of pork are stacked impossibly high in a white bowl, topped with ample garlic.
Ramen at Yume Wo Katare.
Yume Wo Katare

Giulia

Closeup shot of thick pasta noodles covered in red sauce and grated parmesan cheese on a green ceramic plate.
Pasta at Giulia.
Giulia

This popular Italian spot is one of the trickiest reservations in town; dates open up two weeks in advance, so plan ahead. While reservations are accepted for parties of one, it’s also worth rolling the dice for a walk-in seat at the bar. If dining alone, the best course of action is to skip the entrees in order to focus on a pasta and a dessert (any pasta and any dessert; they’re all incredible). Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

Closeup shot of thick pasta noodles covered in red sauce and grated parmesan cheese on a green ceramic plate.
Pasta at Giulia.
Giulia

Field & Vine

Sunlight streams through a large restaurant window that is mostly obscured by potted plants. There’s a rustic wooden wall, bench, chairs, and tables inside.
Field & Vine in Somerville’s Union Square.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Tucked away off a somewhat hidden parking lot in Somerville’s Union Square, Field & Vine looks like a forest oasis. Make a reservation specifically for the bar at this intimate restaurant; it’ll give you a front-row view into the bustling open kitchen. The menu’s always changing, but you’re sure to find something very seasonal and local. (It’s mostly small plates, so plan on ordering a couple.) Vegetables take a starring role, but it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, so roasted koginut squash, for example, may be prepared with spicy marinated feta, fermented garlic honey, and a bit of house-smoked bacon. After dinner, grab a nightcap next door at one of the area’s best cocktail bars, Backbar. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

Sunlight streams through a large restaurant window that is mostly obscured by potted plants. There’s a rustic wooden wall, bench, chairs, and tables inside.
Field & Vine in Somerville’s Union Square.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Oleana

A dramatic baked Alaska dessert full of toasted meringue sits on a brown plate, the background of the photo obscured in shadows.
Baked Alaska at Oleana.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Oleana — serving gorgeous food inspired by Turkey and the wider Middle East — is a notoriously difficult reservation, but there tend to be sporadic openings for parties of one even when fully booked for larger parties. Make a reservation (specifically for the beautiful patio, if the weather will be nice), or just try walking in; you’ll often get lucky with a bar seat, especially at off-peak hours. The play here is the baked Alaska, one of the area’s iconic dishes, so start with a meze or two and maybe a glass of something sparkling, and then head right into dessert. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

A dramatic baked Alaska dessert full of toasted meringue sits on a brown plate, the background of the photo obscured in shadows.
Baked Alaska at Oleana.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Pammy's

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

Pammy’s, an Italian-ish/American-ish trattoria, boasts one of the friendliest staffs in town and truly lovely decor. Solo diner reservations are available, but be aware that reserved seats require purchase of a $69 prix fixe menu. Looking for something lighter? The cozy bar and lounge area (complete with fireplace) is available for walk-ins and offers an a la carte menu. The gochujang-spiked lumache Bolognese is a must; enjoy it with one of Pammy’s draft aperitivi. Proof of vaccination required for indoor dining.

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

Alcove

A wide shot of bar seating and tiered liquor bottles at a somewhat casual but polished restaurant
The bar at Alcove.
Emily Kan

A very short walk from TD Garden but set back a bit from the bustle of Boston’s West End, Alcove is a more upscale option than pretty much anything else in the neighborhood, but it still feels warm and hospitable; a solo diner could be comfortable both at the bar or in standard seating. Open for lunch and dinner, Alcove serves coastal New England cuisine — including a good number of full-sized entrees — and features a solid cocktail list. If you’re lucky, you might spot chef Chuck Draghi’s popular carbonara on the specials list.

A wide shot of bar seating and tiered liquor bottles at a somewhat casual but polished restaurant
The bar at Alcove.
Emily Kan

Seabiscuit

A small round savory pie sits on a red tray with a brown glass bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer visibile in the background.
Beef stew pie and Australian ginger beer at Seabiscuit in East Boston.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Most of the spots on this map are full-service; by default, fast-casual places, cafes, etc. already feel like good solo dining spots. But the casual Australian pie shop and cafe Seabiscuit deserves a special shoutout because there’s nothing like popping in for a hot beef stew pie and a bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer and then going for a quiet wander among all the interesting art within the East Boston marina where the restaurant is located. (Swing by the Downeast taproom, too, to buy some cans of hard cider.) Got extra time and the weather is nice? Don’t miss Piers Park down the street, which boasts some of the best skyline views of Boston available.

A small round savory pie sits on a red tray with a brown glass bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer visibile in the background.
Beef stew pie and Australian ginger beer at Seabiscuit in East Boston.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Neptune Oyster

The Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster is served on a grilled hot dog bun atop a white plate, and is accompanied by French fries and a ramekin of ketchup.
Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Neptune Oyster is another example of a spot that’s easiest to get into as a solo diner (especially if your schedule is flexible). The North End restaurant, home of one of the city’s best lobster rolls, packs in diners elbow-to-elbow but still sees hours-long waits a lot of the time. Put your name in, and then pop around the corner for an interesting cocktail at Parla if a seat’s available at the tiny bar, or just stroll around the North End and maybe make a gelato stop or two.

The Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster is served on a grilled hot dog bun atop a white plate, and is accompanied by French fries and a ramekin of ketchup.
Maine lobster roll at Neptune Oyster.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Haley Henry

The interior of an intimate wine bar that has a bit of a nautical vibe.
The intimate bar at Haley Henry.
Brian Samuels

In general, any dimly lit wine bar with good food feels like a solid solo dining option. Tiny Downtown Crossing nook Haley Henry is an especially great pick thanks to its creative selection of funky wines and hospitable vibes. Go all in on fancy tinned seafood (optionally add caviar), or try a mix-and-match cheese and charcuterie plate. A lighter-on-the-wallet option is the panini of the day, maybe paired with a slice of Basque cheesecake. Reservations open a month in advance, or try to walk in (ideally at an off-peak time).

The interior of an intimate wine bar that has a bit of a nautical vibe.
The intimate bar at Haley Henry.
Brian Samuels

O Ya